The programme for outdoor meetings 2017.

After a break of a few seasons the Circle is very pleased to be offering the following walks during the summer months. This has been brought about by member Keith Dumelow who has plenty of experience in organising railway walks with other groups. They are usually on recognised paths and not too taxing on the body. The walks listed below have all been tried and tested by Keith.

However it is very important that Keith is made aware of your intentions to participate in these walks either by e-mail, text message or telephone. If there is any doubt about the walk taking place, such as inclement weather, then Keith will need to contact you about postponement or cancellation. In these circumstances Keith would contact you about 48 hours before the walk is due to take place. Let's hope for good weather!

I am delighted that Keith has offered these walks and that the Circle has resumed this activity again. I can assure possible participants, having organised many walks myself over the years for the Circle, you will enjoy these so please give Keith a call & join in.

Brian Dotson - Chairman.

Contact details: Keith Dumelow - e-mail: below or mobile & text 07800 630807.

Thursday 27 July - Cefn Coed - Pontsticill CANCELLED due to adverse weather forecast

This walk will take us over the scenic Brecon & Merthyr (B&M) route from Cefn Coed to Pontsticill. The B&M's branch to Merthyr opened in 1869 and used the GWR's High Street station as its terminus. In 1879 the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) 'Heads of the Valleys' route from Abergavenny joined the B&M at Morlais Junction by way of a 1,040yd tunnel, the line from this point to Merthyr being in joint B&M/LNWR ownership which caused the LNWR to abandon its proposed independent branch. The route closed to passenger traffic in 1961 and through freight ceased in 1964 although Vaynor Quarry continued to be serviced from the south until 1966.

The round trip distance is around 7 miles of mostly easy walking, the exception being a fairly steep climb for about half a mile from the valley floor to the village of Pontsticill for lunch in the Red Cow Inn. I can, however, assure you that the climb is worth the effort as the Red Cow offers a warm welcome and serves a fine selection of food and cask ales. Lunch is served from 12:00 to 16:00 and the pub is listed in the Good Beer Guide.

We will meet at 11:00 in the free public car park in Cefn Coed which is situated in High Street (A4054) and is accessed off New Church Street (Grid Ref: SO031080, OS Explorer Map OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park, West & Central areas). The car park is opposite Sammy's Fish Bar and is next to the Drovers Arms.
As I shall be driving from Caerphilly, I can offer train travellers lifts between Aber station and Cefn Coed. The 10:16 off Cardiff Central, arriving Aber at 10:38, is the most conveniently timed train for an 11:00 arrival in Cefn Coed.

Appropriate clothing and footwear is advised and this may include sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat!

*Remember to let Keith Dumelow know if you are to participate in this walk.

Tuesday 8 August - Penydarren Tramroad

Any programme of railway walks in South Wales is incomplete without inclusion of the Penydarren Tramroad on which the world's first steam locomotive ran on metal rails on 21 February 1804. Our walk covers the Merthyr Vale to Quakers Yard section of the 9.5 mile tramroad completed in 1802 and linking the ironworks of Merthyr to Abercynon where traffic was transhipped to the Glamorganshire Canal for onward movement to Cardiff. There are plenty of the original stone blocks of the tramroad to be seen along our route with imprints of the rails and pegs which held them clearly visible.

The steam locomotive designed by Richard Trevithick carried 5 wagons each laden with 2 tons of iron and completed the journey from Merthyr to Abercynon in a little over 4 hours - it was necessary to stop en route and remove debris from the tramroad - at a top speed of nearly 5 miles per hour. The shearing of a bolt on the return journey caused the locomotive to fail due to the loss of boiler water.

Our start point at 11:00 is a small parking area adjacent to Merthyr Vale station (Grid Ref: 076996, OS Explorer Map 166 Rhondda & Merthyr Tydfil) which can be reached by taking the B4285 off the A4054 and proceeding over the railway bridge with the station on the left then dropping down to a new roundabout which has a statue of a miner and a pithead wheel as its centrepiece to commemorate the siting of Merthyr Vale colliery. The car park is accessed by a left turn off this roundabout.

The walk is 3 miles each way over well-established walking routes. Lunch will be taken at the Glantaff Inn in Quakers Yard where food is served between 12:00 and 14:00.
For train travellers, the 09:56 from Cardiff Central arrives Merthyr Vale at 10:49. Should walkers prefer to return to Merthyr Vale by public transport, Stagecoach routes 78 or 79 operate a regular 20 minute service at 19, 39, & 59 minutes from the Quarry stop in Cardiff Road, Edwardsville - a 12 minute walk from the pub - to Station Square, Merthyr Vale. The bus journey takes 7 minutes.

Appropriate clothing and footwear is advised and this may include sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat!

*Remember to let Keith Dumelow know if you are to participate in this walk.

Saturday 9 September - Penrhos Circular

This walk encounters no less than four pre-grouping Railway Companies. Our journey starts at Taffs Well and takes us along the original Rhymney Railway main line to Penrhos where the Barry and the Pontypridd, Caerphilly & Newport Railways joined. This route is about 2.5 miles long and was known as the 'Big Hill' as gradients range from 1 in 48 to 1 in 60. The Rhymney loco shed which housed the banking loco still stands at Taffs Well station. Following the taking of a well-earned lunch at the Cwrt Rawlin Inn, about one-third of a mile from Penrhos, we return to Taffs Well via the former Barry Railway route as it headed towards Walnut Tree Viaduct to cross the Taff Valley. During the walk we shall see the structural remains of the ill-fated Cardiff Railway which ultimately lost its bitter legal wrangle with the Taff Vale over tapping its lucrative coal traffic at Treforest.

Our meeting point will be Taffs Well station at 11:00 (Grid Ref: ST125832, OS Explorer Map 151 Cardiff & Bridgend) where free car parking is available. Would walkers intending to arrive by car please let me know as it may be necessary for me to divert you to alternative car parking should the station park be full.

Appropriate clothing and footwear is advised and this may include sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat!

*Remember to let Keith Dumelow know if you are to participate in this walk.